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Remembering Garry Shandling's influence on comedy

Comedian Garry Shandling has died. He recently appeared in such projects as 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and his 1990s HBO program 'Sanders' has been called one of the best TV comedies ever.

John Shearer/Invision for David Lynch Foundation/AP
Garry Shandling attends the David Lynch Foundation: A Night of Comedy honoring George Shapiro at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 2012.

Comedian Garry Shandling was best known for his HBO program “The Larry Sanders Show,” which was on television during the 1990s. Mr. Shandling co-created and starred in the show, which centered on a late-night program. 

A.V. club writer Kyle Ryan named “The Larry Sanders Show” “one of the best comedies of the ‘90s.” 

“Many television series have satirized show business, but none more realistically or successfully than HBO’s ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’” Mr. Ryan wrote. “…For six seasons on HBO, ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ made some of the best comedy on television … Shandling, [Rip] Torn, and [Jeffrey] Tambor could carry it with their performances alone, but snappy writing, smart direction, and an excellent supporting cast mean they don’t have to.”

And Telegraph writer Philip Horne wrote that it was possibly the best TV program of all time.

’The Larry Sanders Show’ paved the way for Ricky Gervais, Larry David and many others,” Mr. Horne wrote. “…[Episodes are] gems of wit, economy, insight and irony … Nothing … has exceeded its power to shock, amuse, unsettle and dazzle with its dry, sharp intelligence and verve.”

He also starred in the Showtime program “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” which debuted in 1986 and which he also co-created. 

Shandling served as a writer on the programs “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “Sanford and Son.” In addition to “The Larry Sanders Show” and “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” he appeared in such projects as the TV program “The Ben Stiller Show” and the movies “Zoolander,” “Over the Hedge,” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” 

He appeared earlier this year on Jerry Seinfeld’s Web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” during which the two visited the CBS Studio Center. The two reminisce about their careers in comedy.

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